Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), also known as corporate conscience or corporate citizenship, is an increasingly popular role of self-regulation by businesses. It emphasizes the importance of how a business relates to its community, outside of its shareholders. The bonds forged through such efforts are mutually beneficial and healthy, as the community thrives from the outreach and attention given by industry, and the company gains support from the community and other businesses in the process.
One such benefit is value creation. In today’s markets, it takes more than a brand and a slogan to gain traction, and CSR can be the key to standing out from competitors. Over 90% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies now have CSR initiatives and research shows a link between levels of CSR and positive customer interaction. CSR can have an immediate impact on positive sales and higher employee retention. Through processes like volunteer opportunities, employee giving, and pro-bono paid time for employees, CSR will develop improved relationships both internally as well as with the community. This promotes an environment of loyal personnel and clients.
Another valuable benefit of CSR is risk management leverage. In our environment where any action by a corporation is meticulously scrutinized, the positive actions as well as the negative, get instant notice. A negative action can quickly derail public opinion about a business. A successful CSR campaign can generate enough goodwill within the community to weather small amounts of misfortune potentially saving clients and the outlook of the community.
Anders Dahlvig, CEO of IKEA was quoted: “It is not good enough to do what the law says. We need to be in the forefront of these [social responsibility] issues.” Because business leaders are taking a strong stance to reinvest in their community, the community will take time to reinvest in their business. This two way street that is CSR builds a lasting relationship between firms and society.
CSR plays an important role with non-profit organizations. Companies look to support charities to promote sustainability and community involvement. LeapTBL works to fuse companies and charities with similar interests and values.